“When I think FFA, I think opportunity,” said Milton FFA Chapter President and senior at Milton High School Emma McNally.
An FFA member since her freshman year, and a member of a dairy farming family in the town of Harmony, Emma said her lifestyle has taught her perseverance and the value of a strong work ethic, but it was through FFA that she reinforced her character and developed leadership skills.
Before FFA, she said, “I was quiet and reserved, and now I’m able to be president of the chapter.”
This is her first year serving in that role, she said.
True to the FFA creed — which encourages strength, commitment and contribution derived from and made through agriculture pursuits – Emma, upon graduation from high school, plans to attend UW-Platteville, where she will study agricultural business with an emphasis on international agricultural business, she said.
“I hope to work with promoting agricultural exports and agricultural relations,” she said, adding that she sees herself traveling while engaging in her chosen career path.
When working on the farm, Emma said her whole family is engaged. She and her brother, Owen, 13, and a freshman at Milton High School, represent a fourth generation of McNally farmers on the 500-acre farm which has been passed through her father’s family. Today, her father, Jeff, and grandfather, Tom, work with 100 head of Holstein dairy cows while her mom, Tonia, and grandmother, Angie, manage the books and business.
The family also grows corn, alfalfa and soy. Emma said her dad is responsible for most of that work.
Said Emma: “I think growing up on a farm and being out a lot helps develop a true passion for farming. It’s a lifestyle, and I look up to my dad and my grandpa. I have a true love of farming.”
Her favorite thing about farming is the way it involves the family. “It is just something my family does together,” she said.
Emma’s responsibilities include helping to feed and care for calves, and milking cows, she said. She enjoys showing Holstein cows at the county fair and through breed association competitions. This year, she plans to show chickens at the fair as well.
Owen also enjoys helping on the farm and showing animals at the fair, Emma said.
“He loves all animals, every kind,” she added.
In June, she said, the McNally family will be hosting the Dairy Breakfast in Rock County. It will be her family’s first time hosting the event.
“I’m really looking forward to that,” Emma said.
Emma said meeting a variety of people, attending leadership conferences and having an opportunity to travel are some of the things she most enjoys about FFA.
Between June 20 and July 2, 2018, Emma and fellow FFA Milton chapter members Seth Haldiman and Cole Kudrna traveled together through six European countries, including Scotland, England, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and France, participating, along the way, in several cattle-judging events.
At home, Milton FFA students work with FFA alumni, the group that organizes and fundraises for the community’s Fourth of July celebration. The students sell cheese curds and provide manpower to clean up the event grounds, she said.